It has been a season that will very soon be forgotten by the Newcastle faithful. What has made it doubly disappointing is the extent to which we expected big things from the club this season, having finished the 2011-12 season in 5th, just 4 points off of the hallowed 4th place and final Champions League place.
Many people have put the failures down to tactics and some of it was down to the small Newcastle squad which, after the departures of players like Danny Guthrie, Leon best, Peter Lovenkrands, Fraser Forster and Alan Smith, was only reinforced by Vurnon Anita.
In fact that has been admitted by the club’s top brass as a big mistake, a mistake that very nearly had catastrophic repercussions for the club. It is understood that the management is determined not to make the same mistake again and could strengthen well in the summer.
So, the question is where do Newcastle need to strengthen to make sure that they are well equipped to do well and reclaim a place in Europe. Also bear in mind that players like Danny Simpson, Steve Harper and maybe even Fabricio Coloccini have played their last games for the club.
Let’s start from the back.
- Goalkeeper – Tim Krul is undoubtedly Newcastle’s number 1 goalkeeper, with Rob Eliott, his deputy. With the retirement of Harper there is a need for a goalkeeper; Jak Alnwick should be ready to play that role, he is a youth international for England and will be 20 come the start of next season. So, I don’t think there is a need for a new goalkeeper unless we sell anyone.
- Defence – As iterated, Danny Simpson is gone and could well be followed by Coloccini and by Mike Williamson. So there is a need for a full back that can cover the right defensive flank, or if Pardew intends to use Santon as a right back, then a left back is needed. In addition the club needs one or maybe two center backs depending on who goes out.
- Midfield – Whatever happens in this area somewhat depends on what the manager has in his mind regarding this choice of formation. If he wants to play a 4-4-2, then there is a need for a couple of wingers. Jonas Gutierrez cannot be classified as a winger anymore; Marveaux and Gouffran are not wingers and Obertan has not delivered consistently. A different formation, say a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 should see Newcastle in hunt for the attacking players, those who can create as well as score. The club looks well stocked with central midfielders, so a winger should be a priority.
- Strikers – Speaking honestly, there is only striker currently at Newcastle United football club; that being Papiss Cisse. Shola Ameobi is his competition and that is frankly not good enough. Not to mention, he may be on his way out in the Summer. Newcastle need to bring in at least one proven striker and one who is young and will thrive on the occasional cameo. In my opinion, Adam Campbell needs to be loaned out; regular first-team football would be more beneficial than the current sporadic substitute appearance.
So, overlooking the likely departure of players, there is a need to bring in about 4-5 players this Summer. We need a net of 4-5 players to make sure we don’t have the excuse of tiredness. This may change if any youngsters can make the breakthrough at the club.
Let’s hope that come pre-season we have the a sizeable squad that can realistically achieve the targets set. Quite frankly, my heart can’t take another season of disappointment.
Click on the photo of Shola to see ‘An Ode to Ameobi’